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About Souda Bay

Relaxation is easy in Souda Bay, a horseshoe of pristine sand and sparkling sea, sheltered by hills. But its military background means peace hasn't always been so forthcoming.


There's reminders of World War action at the cemetery; and across the bay the fortressed Island of Souda was once a battleground between the Greeks and the Ottomans. But if you cannot imagine such bloodied action, perhaps you can picture Roger Moore's high speed boat chase in For Your Eyes Only, which was filmed on location here.
West of Souda is the charming old Venetian town Chania - or Hania if you prefer. Cobbled streets lined with colourful Venetian townhouses zigzag downward toward the harbour, which has a touch of Florence or Venice about it. Browse a mix of museums, churches and crafts en route, then walk the harbour wall to the oldest lighthouse in the world. End your day with a raki in a waterside café.


Shore excursions in Souda Bay

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

A Taste of Crete

Activity highRefreshments included

Duration: 5 hours

Discover delectable tastes in the lovely setting of the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete.

Situated 18 kilometres from Chania is the Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete, a natural landscape of fruit trees, herbs and ornamental plants. The Park’s theme is aimed at returning to the traditional ingredients of the Cretan diet.

Upon arrival, you’ll be taken on a walking tour of the gardens, which will include tasting a sample of tea made from endemic Cretan herbs. It’s then time for you to head to the restaurant for a cookery lesson, where local seasonal ingredients will be used to produce traditional Cretan dishes. At the end of your hands-on lesson, you’ll have the opportunity to indulge in the array of tasty dishes that you have helped to prepare!

On the return drive to the pier, enjoy the panoramic countryside views as you reflect on your new found culinary knowledge.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. This tour involves around 2 hours of guided walking, and passengers will be required to stand during the cookery lesson. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. This tour is not suitable for children.

Akrotiri and Chania Old Town

Activity high

Duration: 4 hours

Visit the renaissance Agia Triada Monastery and explore the charming old city of Chania.

Sit back, relax and enjoy a scenic drive, passing olive groves and vineyards along the Akrotiri Peninsula. A visit to this region isn’t complete without visiting one of the most impressive Venetian period monasteries.

Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and stunning views as you visit Agia Triada Monastery. The fortress like complex is one of the best examples of the Cretan Renaissance. Then, visit the shop and sample some of the locally-produced wines and olive oil.

A brief photo stop will be made at Venizelos Tomb, to capture uninterrupted panoramic views of Chania. Upon arrival in the old city of Chania, your guide will host you on a walking tour and then you’ll have some free time to explore. Meander along the narrow shopping streets or simply relax in one of the many harbour front restaurants.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 2¼ hours of walking included over varying terrain. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended. Please dress appropriately for entering the monastery.

Arkadi Monastery and Rethymnon Town

Activity high

Duration: 5½ hours

Discover the Arkadi Monastery, delightfully designed in a Venetian Baroque style, and enjoy a visit to the popular resort town of Rethymnon.

Setting off from Souda Bay your drive will take you south east to the Arkadi Monastery.

The monastery of Arkadi consists of a large set of fortress-like buildings and its architecture is impressive. Dedicated to Saints Constantine and Helena, and to Our Lord, the history of the monastery goes back to Byzantine times, when a monk, possibly named Arkadios, founded the monastery. It proved to be not only a remarkable cultural centre, but also played an all-important role during the Turkish occupation. A guided visit will allow you to gain an insight into the history of the monastery and admire the surrounding views.

Afterwards, you’ll drive to Rethymnon, one of the most well-preserved Venetian old towns on the island of Crete. Its Renaissance architecture, Venetian fortress and beaches make the town a popular holiday destination. After a walking tour in the Old Town, enjoy some free time to explore independently and perhaps purchase a refreshment, before the return journey to Souda Bay.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The journey to Arkadi Monastery is around 1½ hours and the return drive from Rethymnon is around 1 hour. This tour involves around 2 hours of walking over varying terrain, which includes cobblestone streets, slight inclines and uneven surfaces. Flat, comfortable non-slip walking shoes are recommended. Please dress appropriately when entering the monastery.

Leisurely Souda Bay

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 4¼ hours

A leisurely option that captures the surrounding sites and scenery of Souda Bay without the walking.

Discover Souda Bay and its surrounds as your leisurely drive takes in some of the area’s highlights, with a few stops along the way.

At the ancient ruins of Aptera, a photo stop will be made for you to admire the important archaeological site that dates back to the 13th and 14th centuries B.C. Next, you’ll head to the charming village of Malaxa, where a stop will be made at a local taverna for you to relax and enjoy a local sweet treat and a cooling soft drink.

Continue to the Souda Bay War Cemetery for a short visit, a poignant reminder of the Battle of Crete, one of the largest during World War II and the first attempted invasion by parachute. Your tour will round off with a photo stop at Venizelos Tomb, which also offers lovely views looking across to Chania, before returning to the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. To derive full enjoyment of this tour some walking is required, however this is optional. The terrain is varying, including some uneven ground.

Manousakis Winery and Vineyards by Jeep

Activity medium

Duration: 5 hours

Experience the countryside of Western Crete by jeep and visit the delightful Manousakis Winery and Vineyards.

Your jeep adventure will take you up to Vatolakos Hill, located at 660 metres above sea level. Here, you’ll head off-road and experience the lovely panoramic views looking across to the north of the island.

Arriving at the Manousakis Winery, you’ll be joined by an in-house guide who will provide a fascinating insight into the history of the family-owned winery. You’ll discover the process of wine making and visit the production facilities, including the bottling line and cellar. During your visit, you’ll have the opportunity to taste a variety of wines accompanied by a selection of cheeses and dakos, the famous Cretan wheat rusks.

Your return drive will allow you to enjoy more lovely scenery, before arriving back at the pier.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by jeep and on foot. Pregnant women may not participate. This tour is not suitable for those with injuries or conditions, which may be affected by a bumpy ride. The route taken is via a combination of main roads and off-road. There is around 1½ hours guided walking over flat and gravel surfaces. It is essential to wear comfortable non-slip walking shoes. Wine tasting will only be offered to those over the age of 18.


A selection of cruises to Souda Bay

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